Friday Serendipity

**** The Yakima Valley Genealogical Society just celebrated their 50th anniversary in October. Three of the original charter members are still alive; one of those is Maxine Bissell, age 100+, and they hoped she’d be able to attend the party. The day of celebration was Saturday, Oct 21st, and included a potluck by the members and an open house and sharing of stories. Sue Ericksen, a member for 25 years, and current president, arranged the day. Way to go, YVGS!!

How many other genealogical societies in our state have 50 years under their belt? Skagit Valley Genealogical Society just marked their 30th. The Eastern Washington Genealogical Society, founded in 1935, has been serving genealogists in Spokane and surrounding areas for 82 years. Any society top that?


**** This is truly a serendipity story. Last time I visited the Yakima Valley Genealogical Society library, Frank McLean showed me their newest treasure….. 16 volumes of Mortgages of Yakima County, dating from 1898. And where did these books come from? Frank said that some time ago a fellow called from Hawaii to say he had spotted these at a yard sale there and did some looking on the Internet, found YVGS, and so called to see if YVGS wanted these books. (“Duh,” quoth Frank.) This wonderful fellow paid to ship all 16 volumes to Yakima. The YVGS plan now is to digitize all the pages (“nearly done,” said Frank) and index it all and make it available on the YVGS website.  The question begs: How on earth did these books end up in Hawaii?????

What Do YOU Want For Christmas??

Moorshead Magazines, publishers of three terrific genealogy-helpful magazines, is offering WSGS members a wonderful opportunity…wouldn’t you enjoy a subscription to one of these magazines as a gift from your kids rather than a sweater, a tie or a box of candy???

Ed Zapletal and Rick Cree and I have been friends for years and when I approached them with this idea, they gave a resounding “thumbs up.”

And here is the great news! For each subscription to any one of these magazines, Ed and Rick will issue a $3 “rebate” check back to WSGS. What could be better than such a win-win??

Here’s what you must do: Click to or  and sign up for a specially discounted $20 subscription (6 issues, one year, each magazine). Rick cautioned me that “it is imperative that they indicate the code WSGS. This will have to be put in the area where we ask for their ID number (the actual wording on the box is: if available, please include your subscription ID number when renewing your subscription)…”  And yes, you can pay by credit card.

So plan to enjoy your special Christmas gift and know that while you are enriching your mind, you’re helping to fund the educational projects of WSGS.

Wednesday Nostalgia

Who remembers these little tin containers? Did you use one as a child?

According to Wikipedia:  Log Cabin Syrup is a brand of pre-packaged syrups owned by Pinnacle Foods. Log Cabin Syrup was introduced in 1887. Grocer Patrick James Towle (1835-1912), who lived in the village of Forest Lake, Minnesota, initially formulated it.

I goofed. This was priced at $10 in Apple Annie’s in Cashmere and when I looked at eBay they sell for up to $25. Amazing. And empty sans syrup too!

Tuesday Trivia

I have a whole stadium full of New England ancestors  and I’d bet that many of you do too. Reading a book titled, Sightseeking: Clues to the Landscape History of New England, by Christopher J. Lenney, 2003, I learned about  what he called The China Syndrome.

Between about 1787 and 1849, in New England, there were many  towns with exotic names such as China, Poland, Denmark, Palermo, Belgrade, Rome, Corinth, Alexandria and Brunswick (“to flatter the House of Hanover”). Lenney quotes Wilbur Zelinsky as stating that he believed that these exotic names for towns showed “the extroverted buoyancy and expansiveness of spirit that many observers identify today as American.”

Lenney states that “the general flowering of exotic names in the early republic” shows that “the United States was a new nation that had lately assumed its station among the powers of the earth; perhaps in token of this, the names of its towns began to scintillate with the brilliance of the firmament in which it was the newest star.”

Thinking about this, it wasn’t only a New England phenomena ….. think Frankfort, Cairo, London, etc. Interesting trivia, don’t you think?

Monday Mystery

Congrats to Patty Olsen for knowing that that porcelain “thing” last week was something “to hold silverware at buffet teas.” Lovely heirloom but kinda useless these days.

Today’s mystery is a real mystery to me too. Found this among my grandfather’s thing but haven’t been able to learn what kind of tool it was and what it was used for. It’s about the length of a hand, a steel “hook” in a leather case with strap. Any guesses?

Sunday Special: Free Books

I have two books-of-interest-to-Washington-research that I’d be happy to give away (for postage) to whomever wants them.

First is Railroads, Reclamation and the River, A History of Pasco, by Walter A. Oberst, 1978. If you have ancestors who lived in the early days in the Pasco area, you’ll enjoy reading this book and viewing the many photos.

Other is There Were Giants, by Maurice Helland, 1980. This is the biography of James Harvey Wilbur, who was born in 1811 in New York, married in 1831 to Lucretia Ann Stevens, had a daughter who married but left no descendants.  James came to the Northwest and did Methodist missionary work until the end of his days. Very interesting read.

Be happy to send these books to you for $5 postage each (or for both if you want both). Let me know.

FLASH! Ancestry for half price! Offer only for 2 days!

This came to me via Lisa Louise Cooke’s blog…………

SAVE 50% on Subscriptions*
FLASH SALE! This Veteran’s Day, new subscribers can get 50% off subscriptions! You can choose 1 month or 6 months, and pick from their three different levels so you get the package that’s right for you.
HURRY! This sale is only good for 2 DAYS!
November 10 – 11, 2017

Friday Serendipity

**** Reading a fantastic book: FamilyTrees: A History of Genealogy in America, by Francois Weil, 2013. Weil starts at the very beginning of America and explains why folks were interested in knowing their backgrounds and family history. (I’ll give more bits from this book in the future.) Page 204:  “Market growth (of the genealogy industry) since the 1970s has taken place in two phases. Before the growth of the Internet came the commercial effects of the new interest in genealogy, symbolized by the success of Roots, and of technological change in the preservation, reproductions and transfer of information.”  At a conference in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1982, a session on using computers in genealogy was included. “Computers are becoming quite common in genealogical research,” it was declared.   Did you realize that (1983) predates (1999)??? When did you begin using a computer for your genealogy???  My first computer, in about 1991, was a Kaypro 10 and I was so excited to have it! With it’s green letters on a black screen!


Tuesday Trivia

For those of you who might have early Spokane connections, The Spokesman-Reivew has published a pictorial history of early Spokane… shown in the images of past issues of the newspaper.

While I have no Spokane connections, hubby’s family does. John Peter Oswald married Mary Ethel Leverich in 1911 at her home in Illinois and then came to Hillyard where he worked on the locomotives. When expecting their first child, John’s mother Esther, they bought land west of town and raised their five children there, born 1913-1925. So I’m ordering this book for his Christmas!


For ordering information, click to Cost before Dec 8th is $29.95 (plus tax/shipping) and will be $15 more later on.

Has the newspaper in your ancestral home towns published such a history? Have you checked????